April 2015 Ontario Economic Fundamentals

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Hot market forces investors to go beyond 'over-asking'

Business is far from usual for investors in many of Canada’s hottest real estate markets, as bidding wars up the ante, and financing and inspection conditions are done away with.

“In the last month I have seen a dramatic shift in buyer behaviour – they see, they want, they make an aggressive move to possess,” said Paolo Divitantonio, investment real estate sales representative at Harbour Properties in Hamilton, Ont.

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Ottawa's housing market as consistent as ever



Talk of a housing bubble, overvaluation, and market corrections don’t apply when it comes to Ottawa’s stable and consistent real estate market.

Trying to characterize Canada’s housing market is an exercise in futility given the distortions caused by cities like Vancouver and Toronto that are booming and Calgary that is showing early signs of a slowdown. But Ottawa could be considered an example of the desired behaviour of a large metropolitan housing market.

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March 2015 housing starts in Ontario

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 10, 2015) - Housing starts in the Ontario region were trending at 53,533 units in March, up from 51,866 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)[sup](1)[/sup] of housing starts.

"The trend in residential construction activity rose convincingly in March for the first time since September 2014. The increase was boosted by an improving trend in apartment construction. The underlying starts trend should stabilize and gather strength through the year thanks to an improving Ontario economy, strong resale markets and a backlog of apartment sales that have yet to break ground," said Ted Tsiakopoulos, CMHC's Ontario Regional Economist.

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March 2015 Housing starts in Hamilton CMA

TORONTO, ONTARIO--(Marketwired - April 10, 2015) - Housing starts in Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) were trending down at 1,645 units in March compared to 2,365 units in February, according to Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC). The trend is a six month moving average of the monthly seasonally adjusted annual rates (SAAR)(1) of housing starts.

"The trend in Hamilton CMA total housing starts declined in March 2015, as builders continued to adjust activity in order to manage inventory levels. The number of newly completed and unoccupied units has been relatively high since December 2014. In the coming months, however, warmer temperatures and a pickup in demand during the busy spring season will help stabilize residential construction in Hamilton. Home ownership affordability remained favourable, as the area continued to attract buyers from the Greater Toronto Area (GTA) where home prices continue to trend higher. Consequently, the average home price gap between Toronto and Hamilton remains wide enough to encourage some buyers to move to Hamilton," said Abdul Kargbo, CMHC's Senior Market Analyst for Hamilton and Brantford CMAs.

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Building for GTA's rental market reality

Earlier this week, I participated in the Canada Mortgage and Housing annual industry roundtable. I was asked to share some insight about whether BILD members have ventured into purpose-built rental housing across the GTA.

You may have seen some headlines recently for a few high-profile rental projects. Most of those are still at the proposal stage and will make their way through the planning process over the next year. So, only time will tell if they will go on to be constructed.

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Kitchener can learn lessons on student housing

Lately, Conestoga College has seen a healthy expansion in its student population, which has nearly doubled over the last five years.

This growth has brought about increased demands for student residential accommodation near the Kitchener campus.

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Ontario's rent rules - where's the sense?

Last week FRPO started its annual round of RTA seminars, to help landlords and property management staff learn about Ontario’s complex residential tenancy law. It’s little wonder why members keep coming back to learn at these sessions. At over 350 pages, Ontario’s Residential Tenancies Act and its regulations is the most complicated landlord-tenant law in North America.

British Columbia, one of the most tenant-friendly provinces in Canada, has a Residential Tenancy Act clocking in at about 60 pages. But, let’s not quibble about the Ontario Legislature’s quest to cure insomnia.

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Wynne pitches carbon pricing in harsh environment

Kathleen Wynne is making her move.

The premier insists she had no choice. Nor, she suggests, do Ontarians.

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GTA homes see both double-digit sales and price growth in March

The spring home buying season started off strong with March recording 8,940 sales of existing homes in the GTA, 11 per cent more than the same time the year before. According to the Toronto Real Estate Board (TREB), new listings also rose at a rate of 5.5 per cent, year-over-year, indicating tight conditions.

The biggest sale increases were for two very different property types: there were 3,421 transactions for detached houses in the 905 region, a 17.3 per cent surge from last year, while condo sales in the 416 rose 13.5 per cent to 1,506.

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University of Ottawa reveals master plan



Sloping greenways filled with trees and bike paths lead down to the Rideau River, where a small boathouse and dock sit. Dedicated students pull out their rowing gear early in the morning. Later in the day, late-comers will take canoes out on the water.

With all the bike paths, walkways and the two LRT stations on the campus, the need for cars has been almost eliminated. King Edward Avenue bustles with people looking for something to do between classes, coming and going from book stores and cafés.

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Ontario Court of Justice expands list of offences

They're arguably the most important items in any home.

And now failing to have smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors in good working order could lead to a larger hit to the wallet.

The Ontario Court of Justice has expanded the list of ticketable offences for provincial fire code violations while also hiking fines for certain offences.

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Orillia Power Corporation has made large renewable procurement (LRP) bids under provincial Green Energy Act

The Orillia Power Corporation (OPC) is looking at a major expansion to its generation capacity.

“These are confidential projects,” said OPC board chair Greg Gee following the annual general stakeholder meeting Monday evening. “I can tell you that they relate to water-power projects, primarily, and some solar.”

OPC owns three hydroelectric plants (Swift, Matthias and Minden) and four rooftop solar installations (Barnfield Point, OPC Service Centre, Teletech/Nordia building and Rotary Place). OPC’s total peak capacity in 2014 was 16 megawatts, a one-megawatt increase over 2013.

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Rents spiking, vacancy rates dropping in Hamilton

A dip in vacancies and a spike in rents threaten to make the city's social housing wait list longer and put more people on the street, city staff say.

"There will definitely be great hardship for people," Kirstin Maxwell, policy and program specialist in the city's housing services division, told councillors Monday.

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Housing starts decline in Hamilton area

Housing starts in the Hamilton Census Metropolitan Area (CMA) declined to 1,645 units in March compared to 2,365 units in February.

That's the word from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), which released the statistics Friday.

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Ally

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Ottawa commercial real estate market on the rebound

In its report for the first quarter of 2015 released Tuesday, Colliers International said the National Capital Region’s office and industrial markets are showing signs of recovery.

Colliers’ survey of 462 office buildings across the region showed an overall vacancy rate of 11.2 per cent, down slightly from 11.3 per cent in the fourth quarter of 2014. The downtown core fared even better, with the vacancy rate falling to less than 10 per cent from 10.2 per cent at the end of 2014.

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Apartment boom builds in Toronto

A new survey out Wednesday points to a massive surge in apartment construction, as investor demand from pension funds competes with traditional condominiums.

Toronto-based Urbanation Inc. says the current development pipeline for units, either under under construction or proposed, is up 75 per cent compared to the number of purpose-built units constructed over the past 10 years.

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Toyota moves Corolla to Mexico

Toyota Motor Corp. plans to shift production of Corolla compact cars from Cambridge, Ont., to a new factory in Mexico, ending an era that began when the company opened its first Canadian assembly plant in 1988.

Toyota confirmed Wednesday that it will shift Corolla to a new $1-billion (U.S.) plant in Mexico in 2019.

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Ally

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Wave of new condos keeps GTA rent in check

Renters rejoice.

So many new rental condos are now hitting the Toronto market that competition is mounting among landlords to keep rents in line and tenants from flocking to the newest glass-and-granite boxes in the sky.

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Ally

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Young - and old - driving resurgence of rental

The condo sales office had barely opened and demand was expected to be strong for suites in The Selby, a 49-storey tower right on the subway line at Sherbourne and Bloor.

Then co-developer Cityzen got an offer it couldn’t refuse: An institutional investor was looking to snap up all 441 condo units and turn them into something rarely seen downtown in decades – brand new rental apartments.

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Ally

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Apartment boom builds in Toronto a sign more are giving up on home ownership

New data shows the average national home price continued to climb in March, led by Vancouver and Toronto, a trend that is leading to affordability concerns and more apartment construction.

The Ottawa-based Canadian Real Estate Association, which represents 100 boards across Canada, said Wednesday that the national average sale price was up 9.4 per cent in March from a year ago to $439,444.

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